Tag Archives: Staples High School rugby

Roundup: Little Rock 9, Indie Movies, Lice …

Three years after Brown vs. Board of Education, public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, were still segregated.

But on September 25, 1957, US Army soldiers escorted 9 black teenagers into Central High School. 14-year-old Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest

On May 24, 2022 (7 p.m.), Carlotta — now in her 70s, and the last survivor of that courageous group of 9 — will join her friend, Westporter Steve Parrish, “In Conversation” at the Westport Library.

Carlotta will describe what it was like to be escorted by armed soldiers through an angry mob, and what happened to her and her family in the months and years after. She’ll reflect on her journey — and ours, as a country and a society.

Click here to register.

Carlotta Walks LaNier

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Staples High School’s Independent Learning Experience allows to move beyond the classroom setting, tackling projects or courses not otherwise offered there. Through an Independent Learning Experience, students spend a semester or full

Several students have produced films (giving new meaning to the phrase “indie movies”). They’ll be screened on Tuesday (May 10, 6:30 p.m., Staples auditorium). Each is about 10 minutes long.

Themes and filmmakers include:

  • An ex-criminal turned interdimensional defense officer investigates a lead on a former partner (Jacob Friedman)
  • Co-dependency and instability challenge 2 teens as they deal with daily life (Leah Chapman and Tate Mullineaux)
  • A high school girl struggles with mental illness (Elen Macaluso)
  • A couple preys on victims in a twisted game of betrayal, manipulation and psychosis (Ben Seideman).

A question-and-answer session and small reception follow. The public is invited.

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I don’t have any young kids. Nor do I have much hair. So I would not know about what I’m told are lice outbreaks at some Westport schools (and pre-schools).

But Liz Solovay is on the case.

The Westport resident owns Lice Treatment Center. She’s been helping local families with in-home and treatment center services for over 15 years.

As if you don’t need more reasons to call Liz: This is Small Business Week. So while you’re taking care of some “small business” of your own, you’re also helping one.

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Lynsey Addario has taken some haunting, harrowing photos of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

But one that the 1991 Staples High School graduate (and Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist) published in yesterday’s New York Times may be among her most sorrowful.

Nothing illustrates the depravity of the Russian invasion — and its toll on innocent people — more than this simple shot.

Aleksandr, a resident of Kramatorsk, sat in a room of his destroyed apartment after it was hit by a Russian airstrike yesterday. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

Thank you to Lynsey, fellow Staples grad and Times photographer Tyler Hicks, and all others in the war zone, for showing the world what is going on half a world away.

To learn more about the history, geography and culture of Ukraine, listen to Professor Walter Zaryckyj at the Westport Library on Monday (May 9, 7 p.m., in-person and Zoom). He’ll speak on “Understanding Ukraine: Past, Present and Future.” Click here to register.

“06880” is a proud co-sponsor of this important educational event.

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The 2022 rugby high school nationals will be televised.

That’s of interest to “06880” readers, because Staples High School will be in them.

The Wreckers — ranked #5 in the nation — head to Elkart, Indiana soon. They compete for a US title from Thursday to Saturday, May 19-21 (times TBD).

Can’t make it to “The RV Capital of the World”? Go to Little Barn instead. Matches will be shown there, on a big screen.

In March, a crowd gathered at Little Barn for the rugby team’s kickoff tournament in Virginia.

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The Joggers Club is moving — from Compo Beach to the Greens Farms train station.

They invite everyone to stop by, every Saturday at 8 a.m. The first run is free. They offer a variety of distances and paces. All are fun.

Plus coffee, treats and music after each run.
·        When: Every Saturday @ 8:00am
·        Where: Green’s Farms Train Station

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The Westport Weston Family YMCA will offer 15 needs-based lifeguard certification scholarships this summer.

Applicants must be 15 to 23 years old, with strong swimming skills. There are 2-day courses May 7-8 and 14-15, and June 4-5 and 11-12. Click here for the application, and more information.

Questions. Contact Julia Marshella by email (jmarshella@westporty.org) or phone (203-226-8984).

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The other day, our “Westport … Naturally” feature showcased a handsome swan, sitting on her eggs.

She must have been foraging for food yesterday. Here was the scene:

(Photo/Elaine Marino)

And we’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Don’t get too close! Give her and her cygnets-to-be plenty of space.

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And finally … on this date in 1940, John Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath. It was a novel — but it cut very, very close to the truth.

 

Roundup: Breakfast Club, Library Trustees, Rugby Rout …

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A full house at Toquet Hall enjoyed yesterday’s Triple Threat Academy workshop production of “The Breakfast Club.”

The cast — a mix of old and young — nailed the iconic (and now 37-year-old) movie.

Highlights included Michael Sharits — a professional actor and Triple Threat student — who jumped in as Claire’s dad with just 2 hour’s notice when a cast member had COVID exposure.

In addition, there were 2 Staples Players parent/child duos: Nick Sadler (Principal Vernon) and Cooper Sadler (John Bender), plus Jean Pitaro (Brian’s mom) and Josy Pitaro (Claire).

Triple Threat founder (and Staples High School graduate) Cynthia Gibb was in the audience, watching acting teacher/Juilliard grad Keith Contreras-McDonald’s production.

Cynthia’s mom Linde was there too. She’s in Triple Threat’s adult acting class.

For more on Triple Threat’s acting and improv classes for youth, teens and adults, dance classes, audition workshops, private voice lessons and more, click here.

“The Breakfast Club” cast, outside Toquet Hall.

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The Westport Library gives so much to Westport. Here’s a chance to give back.

There are vacancies on the board of trustees. The Library seeks candidates with previous board experience. and expertise in finance, fundraising and development for non-profits; knowledge, expertise and understanding of trends in media and information technology, and entrepreneurs with experience in business, economic development and innovation.

Trustees must be Westport residents, and serve for 4-year terms beginning July 1. There are 20 members; half are appointed by the Representative Town Meeting, half by the Library Board itself. For more information about trustees’ roles, click here.

To apply, email a resume and letter of interest to rpowell@westportlibrary.org. The deadline is April 25.

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The Staples High School rugby team is ranked 9th in the nation, by Goff Rugby Report. Georgetown Prep of Maryland is 8th.

But the Wreckers traveled south, and demolished the Hoyas yesterday 45-7. The livestreamed match was watched by dozens of Staples parents, siblings and fans — and plenty of ex-pat former ruggers from South Africa and Australia — at Little Barn restaurant.

Congratulations to 1st-year head coach Neil Seideman and his excellent team on their 2nd win in 2 games. They opened the season with a 38-3 trouncing of Xavier-Middletown. (Hat tip: Terry Brannigan)

Cheering on Staples rugby, at Little Barn.

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Speaking of sports: This weekend marks the return — after 2 canceled COVID years — of the Westport Soccer Association’s WIN tournament.

Over 160 teams from throughout the tri-state region compete indoors and outside, at Staples High and Bedford Middle School, and Wakeman. In 40 years of existence, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Coleman Brothers Fund. It honors former Westport athletes Scott and Keith Coleman, who were killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Boys teams ages 9 through 19 played yesterday. Girls play today. Congratulations to the Wreckers of Westport, who won the U-19 championship yesterday, including a 6-0 thrashing of Dynamo in the final.

U-19 champions (front row, from left): Avery Mueller, Ben Tanen, Aidan Mermagen. Back row: Thomas Corridon, Brewster Galley, Bruno Guiduli, Jaden Mueller, Jesse Sanchez. Missing: Santi Alfageme, Jacob Greenberger. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

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Speaking still of sports: Chad Knight — for the former Staples High School and Little League World Series star — leads the Duke University baseball team in hitting. The 6-0, 220-pound catcher/designated hitter has a .350 average for the 11-8 Blue Devils. (Hat tip: Steve McCoy)

Chad Knight

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Bistro du Soleil is not just a great restaurant. It’s also an inspiring art venue. Westport artist Karen Silver Bloom — known for her unique collectible shadow boxes —  is next up, at the popular Riverside Avenue spot. An opening reception is set for March 27 (4 to 7 p.m.). The shadow boxes will be on display at Bistro du Soleil on weekends through May 8.

Karen Silver Bloom and friend, in her studio.

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Just announced: an interesting CNN+ and HBO Max project focusing on Westport’s own Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Ethan Hawke is the director. Martin Scorsese is the executive producer. Deadline says, “The Last Movie Stars will celebrate the enigmatic personas, incandescent talent and love story of the 2 actors, who occupy a unique space in the Hollywood pantheon.

“Central to the film is a long-abandoned project that Newman, who died in 2008, commissioned…. (Stewart Stern interviewed) Woodward, Elia Kazan, Sidney Lumet, Karl Malden, Sidney Pollack, Gore Vidal, Jacqueline Witte and others for a planned memoir.

“He also interviewed Newman…. They discussed his youth, first marriage, romance and life with Woodward, personal demons, and the loss of his son Scott.”

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

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Congratulations to Staples High School’s March Students of the Month.

Senior Olivia Marshall, juniors Lucy Dockter and Mirian Hurley, and freshmen Perrin Root and Ocean Banska were selected, principal Stafford Thomas said, for helping make their school “a welcoming place for peers and teachers. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place it is.”

Staples Students of the Month Perrin Root, Miriam Hurley, Lucy Dockter and Olivia Marshall. Missing: Ocean Bansak.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” selection is a first: a video.

Susie Kowalsky captured — on film, that is — these swans nesting on the Saugatuck River. It’s a scene we don’t always see, but can always admire.

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And finally … in honor of “The Breakfast Club” (see story above):

 

 

 

Roundup: Senior Center, Morningside South, Joey’s Delivery …

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It’s the news seniors have been waiting for.

Starting July 1, the Senior Center will reopen. It’s limited, sure — but it will be wonderful for the thousands of Westporters who rely on our great center.

The phased reopening will include in-house, outdoor, hybrid, televised and Zoom classes all summer long.

Director Sue Pfister and her staff have meticulously established safety protocols. They includes enhanced air-handlers, sanitizers, and other CDC-guided precautions.

There’s also a canopy over part of the back patio, to extend outdoor space.

The congregate luncheon program will remain closed until September. In addition, summer plans will not include drop-in visits or congregating during the initial reopening phase. Water fountains will not be available, so participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle from home.

Senior Center participants must pre-register with the new registration system MyActiveCenter (https://myactivecenter.com/) to sign up for activities, classes, and programs.  For instructions and a list of upcoming courses, please visit www.westportct.gov/seniorcenter or call 203-341-5099.

Back in action soon!

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For months, Westporters have wondered about the fate of the Kowalsky property. The large tract of land on Morningside Drive South and Clapboard Hill Road is some of the last privately owned open space in town.

Part of it is now on the market. The real estate listing says:

Perc tests and a Conceptual Plan are now available outlining a proposed 8 Bedroom home, Infinity Edge Swimming Pool and Septic. Build your dream home on this prestigious 2.0 Acre property in a well established Greens Farms neighborhood.

This property is truly majestic with part ownership of a man made pond, and several character outbuildings. This sought after location is less than a mile to Metro North/Greens Farms train station and Burying Hill Beach. Two homes on Morningside Drive South (# 90 and # 88) have SOLD within the year, both currently in stages of being torn down for over a million dollars an acre. There is value here on this special piece of land.

This is a Land listing. The home on the property is ‘As Is’. As with any Land listing, buyers to perform their own due diligence.

117 Morningside Drive South.

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Plenty of people like Hook’d on the Sound, the new Compo Beach concessionaire.

Plenty do not like the fact that it closes at 6 p.m.

The previous snack bar tenant — Joey’s by the Shore — stayed open till dark. Two years ago, he relocated to the former Elvira’s, around the corner across from Old Mill Beach.

Now Joey’s has introduced a delivery service to Compo. It’s available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You can order online. Enter “2 Soundview Drive” as the delivery address. Your food will be delivered — in a thermal bag, with no extra charge — at the pickup/ dropoff location next to the Compo volleyball courts.

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The undefeated, nationally ranked Staples High School rugby team kicked off its national tournament quest in Kansas City yesterday with a 26-22 win against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Wreckers are ranked #5; Aquinas was #4. The temperature at the start was 100.

Little Barn The Little Barn in Westport is the local site for viewing. The next match is tonight (6 p.m.), against #1 Herriman from Utah.

Watching yesterday’s game at Little Barn. (Photo/Terry Brannigan)

Previewing the tournament, a rugby publication described Staples as “the best-kept secret of the tournament. (They have) compiled one heck of a season up in Connecticut. Winners over big dogs Xavier, Greenwich, and Fairfield, these boys are battle-tested and battle-accomplished. Jot them down as your dark horse now.”

For more information on the national rugby tournament, click here.

Staples rugby in action, earlier this year.

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Wakeman Town Farm kicks off its farm stand season tomorrow (Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Every Saturday, the Cross Highway stand features farm-grown veggies, baked goods, honeys, Shearwater coffee, Wave Hill breads, Kneads pastries, Pam’s Jams, Guardians farm goat soap & lotion, plus logowear.

Tomorrow’s fresh produce offerings include collard greens, lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, garlic scapes, Chinese green onions, strawberries (limited quantities!), and herbs.

This year, WTF expands its offerings with a rotating list of local guest vendors. This week they welcome Lorenza Arnal, creator of Alma de Mexico’s homemade salsas, and Sk*p, a sustainably packaged hair & body care line with local roots.

PS: Visitors can also say hi to the WTF animals.

Teagan Smith, at the WTF farm stand.

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Tomorrow is also the day for Westport Paddle Club’s great Saugatuck River cleanup. Everyone is welcome to jump in a kayak, then pick up debris.

It starts around 5 p.m. — an hour or so before high tide — so you can paddle up with the tide, then drift back with it too.

Everyone will be back before 8. It will still be light — and time to party. Jr’s Deli & Grille provides the grub. (Click here for details.)

To get in the mood, check out last night’s report on News12. Even if you can’t make it tomorrow, you’ll learn a lot about the river. And the drone views are outstanding!

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Looking for action, entertainment and laughs?

The Remarkable Theater’s upcoming shows include:

  • “Black Panther” (Monday, June 21)
  • “The Birdcage” (Wednesday, June 23)
  • “The Breakfast Club” (Monday, June 28)

All shows begin at 8:45 p.m. Gates open at the Imperial Avenue parking lot at 7:45, for tailgating. Click here for tickets.

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Westport’s own Dale Najarian is one of 5 features artists at George Billis Gallery‘s new pop-up exhibit, “Summer Escape.”

It opens today (Friday, June 18), with an open reception from 4 to 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 25.

“Summer Escape” includes oceans, beaches, pool scenes, waterscapes, and paintings inspired by travel in the US and Europe.

George Billis Gallery is at 166 Main Street. It’s open every day except Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

“Compo Beach,” oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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Staples High School’s Class of 1976 is planning their 45th reunion. And — in the spirit of ’76 — they’re doing more than their share.

The July 30-31 weekend includes parties at the Black Duck and Compo Beach. They’ve added a “Great Gatsby” town tour.

And — because several classmates volunteer with CLASP Homes, the supportive housing organization for people with developmental disabilities (and Tracy Flood works there), the reunion-goers will do yard projects at the site. (They might not even know that CLASP was founded in 1976!)

Class of ’76 members seeking more information can email staples76reunion@gmail.com.

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“Westport … Naturally” finds us today at Burying Hill Beach:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … in honor of Staples High School’s 450-plus graduates yesterday, here is Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The whole thing. But if you want just the traditional processional march, it starts at 1:57.

 

Staples Wins State Freshman Rugby Title

It’s been quite a year for the Staples High School freshman rugby team.

Last week they beat the Greenwich High frosh team — a first for any Wrecker rugby team, at any level. That earned the 9th graders an undefeated season record.

Today Staples played in the state freshman championship game. Once again, they faced Greenwich.

Once again they prevailed — in a 59-14 rout.

It’s the first-ever state rugby championship for the entire Staples rugby program.

Even more remarkable: Many of the frosh never played rugby until this year.

Congratulations, lads (and coaches!).

Staples High School: state freshman rugby champions.

(Hat tip: Rebecca Mace)